OFFICIALLY A SILVERSMITH EXPERT NOW RIGHT? - SILVERSMITH WORKSHOP WITH BACKSTREET ACADEMY 2018
If you have read our other blogs explaining Backstreet academy and what they are all about then you will already know how much we love their service, so we had to book another!
If I had to compare this experience with something else, I would say it felt like that moment when you sit down with Grandma and she tells you a story about when she was young. Or when Dad teaches you to ride a bike. There is real passion and excitement for achievement from the lovely Kru Tu.
Luckily the temple is centrally located which meant we could reach it easily by scooter. We had heard the temple was pretty spectacular, but we had no idea it was completely aluminum and made using same designs and skills that we would learn today!
Obviously, there were a few tourists there exploring this beautifully detailed temple, but as we headed over to the left where the silversmith class was, there were no other tourists in sight! Kru Tu rushed over with a smile when she saw us, immediately she could tell we were there for the class, I guess she could see our excitement to be learning this skill and working alongside monks.
After short introductions, she ushered us over to the table where the tools and workspace was already set up to go. We had the option of making bracelets or bookmarks with our piece of aluminum, which at first we thought was far too easy and simple. That was before we realised it would take 3 hours for it to make it onto my wrist!
The lovely Kru Tu went through every step with us, explaining which tool to use, why, and helping by showing us what she meant to be clear we understood. It was lovely to see her passion and enthusiasm for perfection and detail when she works with not only us, but the monks also.
First, we were given our small section of aluminum and a choice of design predrawn on paper. Once we had chosen our design we glued it down and began knocking indents using the tools provided. Trust me, it is not as easy as it looks!
Although her guidance was more than enough for the average human to do a great job, somehow I still managed to create wiggly worm-like lines, but at least she laughed with me rather than at me as I asked for her help to fix my attempts.
Once we had finished creating our indents, it was time to scrub off the paper, choose whether to add black dye, then rolled it over the metal cylinder to create the bracelet shape.
This whole process was surprisingly very soothing and almost like a form of meditation. Sitting down concentrating as hard as you could on marking your lines correctly and putting the right pressure on your tool for each dent definitely created a calming focus. It was hilarious to look at our tiny little novice bracelets at the end in comparison to what the monks were working on!
All in all, it was an incredible experience and we were glad we had such a passionate teacher who smiled ear to ear when she saw our finished product (Although it was a little wonky, she was reassuring I was not the only one). We definitely recommend it to people who aren’t there for the meeting people aspect, but for the appreciation of a genuinely great experience learning a new skill.
I plan to take this back home and create my own workshop with children in my classroom and can not wait to pass this skill down. Maybe I should do a little more practice before that though…..
INFORMATION ABOUT THE CLASS
Wat Srisuphan with its gorgeous Silver Shrine hosts the learning center for the ancient silverware art, whose goal is to train a new generation of craftsmen. It perfectly fits into the history of Wualai road as the main center for silverware.
The roots of this community can be traced back 200 years ago when Lanna King Kavila carried on in order to restore the city. He invited villagers famous for their silverware craftsmanship from Salawin basin to reside in a community outside Chiang Mai walls today is the area of Waulai road (Walking street).
In this workshop, you will learn to craft a nickel bracelet with the traditional techniques still used today in temples all around Thailand. You will be learning amidst other monks and novices who have come far and wide to learn this skill to bring back to their temple.
You can either choose from numerous traditional designs or design something of your own. All the tools will be provided and at your disposal!
COST: $23 USD per person
DURATION: Approx 3 hours
MIN-MAX GUESTS: 1-10
The host recommends these preparations so that guests can have the best experience.
Dress decently: Shoulders should be covered.
Do not wear shorts. You should be covered down at least below your knees.
Silverware has been present in Thailand's religious history for centuries, and almost all monks and novices learn this highly coveted art to assist with adorning their temples with beautiful patterns to honor the gods.
CHECK OUT OUR OTHER BACKSTREET ACADEMY BLOGS FOR MORE INFORMATION AND EXPERIENCES!
LIST OF COUNTRIES WHERE YOU WILL FIND THESE UNIQUE EXPERIENCES
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